Rep. Duncan Hunter to plead guilty to campaign finance violations

Embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is expected to change his plea in a campaign finance investigation to guilty on Tuesday and has indicated he will leave Congress.

An announcement about the change was posted Monday to a U.S. District Court docket.

Hunter told KUSI-TV he will plead guilty to one count of misuse of campaign funds. He was scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 22 for allegedly diverting more than $250,000 in campaign money for trips, golf outings and personal expenses over several years.

US REP. HUNTER BLAMES 'DEMOCRAT PROSECUTORS' FOR HIS INDICTMENT ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter leaves San Diego federal court this past July. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter leaves San Diego federal court this past July. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

"I think it's important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids," Hunter told the news station.

“I think it would be really tough for them,” he added. “It’s hard enough being the kids of a public figure. I think it’s time for them to live life outside the spotlight.”

He said he wants to ensure a "seamless transition" for the next occupant of his House seat, adding that he prefers it to be held in Republican hands.

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Hunter's wife, Margaret Hunter, previously pleaded guilty for her role in the scheme and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

The San Diego congressman has said the corruption charges and allegations he used campaign money to fund a string of extra-marital affairs with congressional staffers and lobbyists are part of a political witch hunt.

Republican leaders stripped him of his committee assignments and several GOP opponents, including former Rep. Darrell Issa, have launched campaign bids to unseat him in 2020.

In a statement, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also called out Issa and Carl DeMaio, another GOP candidate seeking Hunter's seat, got corruption.

"While the Great California Crook-Off in CA-50 may now have one less corrupt Republican running, the Washington GOP will have to choose which one of the remaining crooks running for Congress they will want to line up behind – Issa or DeMaio," said Andy Orellana, the DCCC's western press secretary.

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Hunter's former challenger, Democratic candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar, is also running for his seat. Hunter, a former Marine who served in Iraq, has served 11 years in Congress and previously resisted calls to resign.

He failed to get the endorsement of San Diego Republicans last month.

Defense attorneys tried to get those allegations blocked by the court, but U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan ruled the allegations were relevant to whether campaign money was spent illegally and spoke to motive and intent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.